Top 5 Web Project Management Tools for #highered Professionals

September 13th, 2013 Karine Joly 5 Comments

Got Digital Projects to Manage at Your School?

Who doesn’t have projects to manage in higher education?

Whether you’re in charge of websites, mobile development, web applications or marketing, communication, publications and social media initiatives, you have projects to manage.

And, while there is a lot more to successful digital project management than the tool you use to get the job done, tools tend to be always top-of-mind when things get a bit out of hands.

The same is true with Web Content Management Systems (Web CMS) or even Learning Management Sytems often seen as the silver bullets to cure all web content or academic woes.

I know that this is probably the first thing most want to talk about when it comes to project management, so let’s tackle the tool question now.

Hopefully, this will help your team and let you focus on the most important parts of project management (to be discussed at the upcoming Higher Ed Web Project Management Summit on Oct 22-24, 2013).

How Did Karine Pick The Higher Ed Web Project Management Tools on this List?

Higher Ed Web Project Management Tools

I wouldn’t qualify the research I’ve done for this post as scientific, but I didn’t draw the selected tools from a hat either. Truth be told, I spent an entire day researching, reviewing and preparing this blog post :-)

Here’s how I’ve come up with this list:

  1. I did several web searches to get a feel for what was out there.
  2. I searched the main list servs or online communities to find discussions pertaining to the topic
  3. I followed up with a few professionals currently working for a university or a college and using a given tool
  4. I did a quick tour of the tool when a free demo was available.

While I started with 10 tools, I cut down my list to 5 after a review process to focus on the best tools. Now, your mileage may vary depending on the requirements, budget, resources and products currently in use at your institution.

The 5 finalist tools are not listed in any specific order (just the order I reviewed them):

  • TeamworkPM
  • Basecamp
  • Intervals
  • Podio
  • Asana

Teamwork PM

This is the 1st tool I reviewed as it was highly recommended by web teams from the University of Notre Dame and Florida International University among others.
Teamwork Project Manager covers the basics (projects, tasks, people, communication etc.) and some (time tracking, risk management).
It looks like a great solution for in-house agencies or central services with a good number of team members.

Here’s my 4-minute quick tour of Teamwork PM

According to Erik Runyon, Director of Web Communications at the University of Notre Dame, Teamwork works well for his team because it:

  • is mobile friendly
  • has an API they can query to run custom reports
  • has the ability to assign tasks, and have users log time against those tasks for billing purposes
  • integrates with third party services like Box.com which is supported by the IT department

How much does it cost?
You can have unlimited team members, subscription levels are based on the number of projects you maintain.
From $49/month for 35 projects to $149/month for unlimited number of projects

Basecamp

Basecamp is well-known and widely used in higher education as well.
It covers the basics and is also very popular with agencies, designers and creative professionals.
It’s a great solution for small to mid-size teams with great messaging features, but it doesn’t look like it supports internal billing or time tracking.

Here’s my 4-minute quick tour of Basecamp

According to Mike Richwalsky, Senior Director of Creative Services and eMarketing at John Carroll University, Basecamp works well for this team because:

  • for each project there’s a record of emails, files, and discussions that can be reviewed as necessary
  • it’s possible to give access to outside vendors on a project-basis
  • it’s a hosted service, so need to maintain it in-house
  • it allows to share as much or as little as necessary with inside clients without inundating them with updates.

How much does it cost?
You can have unlimited team members, subscription levels are based on the number of projects you maintain.
From $40/month for 50 projects to $150/month for unlimited number of projects

Intervals

Intervals was highly recommended by David Anderson, Director of Strategic Digital Communications, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.
It covers all the basics and a lot more.
It’s a great solution for mid-size to large teams with many (too many?) features.

Here’s my 4-minute quick tour of Intervals

According to David Anderson, Intervals works well for his team because:

  • it helps with project management but also functions as an institutional memory
  • it offers great reporting features
  • it supports comments and updates for tasks
  • it has a request queue attached to an email address that is made available to the campus community

How much does it cost?
You can have unlimited team members, subscription levels are based on the number of projects you maintain.
From $40/month for 50 projects to $175/month for unlimited number of projects

Podio

Podio was discussed several times on the CASE list servs.
It does a pretty good job covering project management basics, and can also do much more depending on the app/module you use.
It looks like a solution that could work well for different types (techies, communicators, marketers, etc.)

Here’s my 4-minute quick tour of Podio

While Anna Mulé, Director of Digital & Social Media at Wagner College, doesn’t use Podio all the time, she does with team members. It can be customized and get the job done.

How much does it cost?
You can have unlimited projects, subscription levels are based on the number of team members.
From free for up to 5 team members and 5 external partners to $9/month per employee and unlimited number of external partners.

Asana

Asana is more a task management app for teams than a project management tool, but it covers the basics of what you need to work on projects and is very intuitive.
It is simple and sometimes simplicity is all you need to get your work done.
It looks like a great solution for solos and teams of 1 who want to get organized.

Here’s my 4-minute quick tour of Asana

Anna Mulé, Director of Digital & Social Media at Wagner College, told me she prefers Asana for her own projects because:

  • it is straightforward and easy to organize tasks, assign items to team members, track comments, create sub-tasks, and sync everything to Google calendars
  • it can have multiple projects with different team members on each one
  • it can archive tasks to get them out of sight or view them to see how much has been done

How much does it cost?
You can have unlimited projects, subscription levels for the Premium service are based on the number of team members.
From $50/month for up to 15 employees to $300/month for 50.

Let’s Create a Longer List of Higher Ed Web Project Management Applications!

Do you use a tool that is NOT listed in this post?
Tell us more about it and why you like it so much by posting a comment. By taking the time to share your experience, you’ll help your colleagues get more stuff done!

What About Methodology, Frameworks & Tips for Higher Ed Web Project Management?

If you want to learn what else you need to know to be successful with your digital projects, don’t miss the Higher Ed Web Project Management Online Summit (Oct 22-24, 2013)

Higher Ed Web Project Management Summit